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Saturday, August 23, 2008 

A note on criticism

I always say, when I'm talking about criticism, that I want to get away from the notion of canonicity, and people always wonder what I'm talking about. What a lovely surprise, in the midst of a very good review by Zadie Smith, of all people (novelists tend not to make good reviewers, is all I'm saying) of a new collection of E.M. Forster's radio work, to encounter a beautiful paragraph that happens to be relevant:

Forster was not Valéry, but he defended Valéry's right to be Valéry. He understood the beauty of complexity and saluted it where he saw it. His own preference for simplicity he recognized for what it was, a preference, linked to a dream of mass connection. He placed no particular force behind it.

This is kind of the way I feel about many albums that I respect or even like, but do not love enough to, say, own, or listen to again. I'd expand on this now, but I have to go have a beer or ten.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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